Old Thorns Jog Squad

Run Technique

Learn to run with Old Thorns’ Jog Squad

Our Marketing Manager, Helen, has signed up to our latest group with the aim of reaching the 5k goal!

I’ve tried to take up running several times! I’m not looking to become the next Paula Radcliffe but I have always been keen to try the Park Runs and I would love to run the Great South Run one year – I’ve spectated so many times and always admire the thousands of people taking part. I’d consider myself to be quite sporty but when it comes to running I just don’t seem to have the stamina, or the right breathing, or long enough legs…I think I’ve used all the excuses! The reality of it is that I just haven’t dedicated the time or had the right support to get over that initial barrier.

Elevation Health Club’s new ‘jog squad’ seemed the perfect opportunity. A beginner’s running group designed at getting you from 0 – 5k within 6 weeks. Sure, there are lots of apps and plans that enable you to do something similar but something has always cropped up that’s prevented me from ever completing one. With Jog Squad giving me a dedicated time scheduled in my diary, a group of like-minded people doing the same and a coach to provide support and motivation – well I’m hoping that this is the right combination that is going to get me comfortably running 5k.

Over the coming weeks, I will share my progress – and if you would like to join me, just speak to the Elevation Team to join one of the groups!

Pre-run week

Received my group plan this week. Week 1 doesn’t look too scary! Looking forward to getting my trainers on and getting started!

week 1 2 minutes running 1 minute walking
week 2 3 minutes running 1.5 minutes walking
week 3 5 minutes running 2 minutes walking
week 4 8 minutes running 3 minutes walking
week 5 20 minutes running no walking
week 6 25 minutes running no walking


Week 1

After a gentle warm up along the Old Thorns driveway, our coaches (Bella and Rob) took us on a very picturesque route around the grounds that surround Old Thorns. I have driven up the Old Thorns driveway almost every day since December but I’ve never ventured from the road. I was enjoying taking in the countryside so much that I barely noticed running for the first 2 minutes. As the run progressed, the group naturally split so that everyone could run at a pace that was comfortable for them. Rob lead the front of the group timing our intervals. 2 minutes running always felt manageable although the 1 minute walking intervals always seemed very quick – still not convinced they were a full minute 😉 There was a relaxed feel to the run and the 25 minutes flew by. In previous attempts at running solo, I’ve always felt the time drag – but as a group, with chatter and the interval structure it was all finished before it had begun. The run really built up my confidence that the 5k goal is achievable and I feel ready to step it up and take on the next challenge.

A great start to my 0-5k journey – bring on week 2!

Week 1 stats
Distance: 3K
Total time: 25 minutes
Type: Intervals – Run for 2 minutes, walk for 1 minute
Temperature: 16 degrees
Coaches: Bella & Rob

Week 2

I only managed to fit in the one extra training run in the lead up to week 2, so was a little nervous that I wouldn’t keep up with the group. Instructor John took the lead this week and after a quick warm up, we were off. The general pace felt a little faster this week, so the group split quite early on, with everyone using the first 3 minutes of running time to find their comfortable pace. There was a nice sense of familiarity by running the same route as week 1 and it felt like we reached the turn-around point much faster – whether we did or not, I am not actually sure! The blocks of walking just gave enough recovery time to feel ready to take on each 3 minute block of running so I didn’t notice the extra minute too much – whether I will feel the same when it increases to 5 minutes, well I guess I will find out next week! It still feels pretty unbelievable that I’ll be able to do 5k without walking in 4 weeks time but feels good that week 2 has been successfully completed!

Week 2 stats
Distance: 3K
Total time: 23 minutes
Type: Intervals – Run for 3 minutes, walk for 1.5 minutes
Temperature: 15 degrees
Coaches: John and Emily


Week 3

Somehow, despite the crazy downpours in the days leading up to this week’s jog squad, we managed to dodge the rain. 3 weeks in and Rob was keen to help us with our technique. Our warm-up focused on exercises that would improve our stride – from high knees to heel flicks. I was also conscious to try and keep a better posture whilst running this week – trying to keep my head up and momentum coming from my arms. I’m not sure that I’ve mastered the ideal running technique just yet, but the fact that I am even thinking about it whilst running is a huge step forward. A couple of weeks ago my main thought process was to try not to collapse on the floor!

The pace felt pretty quick again this week and strangely I found the first 5 minute running interval the toughest. It felt like it went on forever and the two minute walking break couldn’t come quick enough. But just as I started to question my ability to complete this week’s run, I found the recovery time just long enough to take on the next running set. And the walking interval seemed to come much quicker this time. I was surprised when Rob told us the distance we had run. I knew it was further than the previous weeks, but didn’t expect it to be over 1K more. The 5K goal is in sight!

Week 3 stats
Distance: 4.4K
Total time: 27 minutes
Type: Intervals – Run for 5 minutes, walk for 2 minutes
Temperature: 16 degrees
Coaches: Rob and Ryan


Week 4

Naturally, with any program like this, there are likely to be a few that don’t complete the full 6 weeks – either it isn’t right for them, they want to work at a different pace, or life simply gets in the way. It was great to hear this week that a couple of people who could no longer make the sessions had found that the first couple of weeks had given them the confidence and direction to run by themselves. Everyone has different goals, so for those wanting to break down that initial barrier of getting started with running, the first few weeks had done the trick. For me however, I want to get to that 5k goal and be able to run the distance confidently without stopping – something I have never been able to do!

Week 4 brought that goal a little bit closer with us covering the full 5K distance running 8 minute intervals. We set out on a different route and the new, more rural setting kept me distracted from the first 8 minutes of running. The main difference I have noticed between week 1 and week 4 is how much better I felt during the recovery period. In week 1, after just 2 minutes of running, I was desperate for that 1 minute rest and felt out of breath. At week 4, although the 8 minutes running was still tough, I felt more comfortable during the rest period – a real noticeable improvement from a month ago. Covering the full 5K was a real milestone this week and a big confidence boost.

Week 4 stats
Distance: 5.1K
Total time: 37 minutes
Type: Intervals – Run for 8 minutes, walk for 3 minutes
Temperature: 18 degrees
Coaches: Rob and Bella